SAN ANTONIO -- Two starting pitchers whose immediate futures will be dictated by their spring performances turned in mixed results on Saturday as the Rangers topped the Royals, 13-6, in the second and final game of the Big League Weekend exhibition series at the Alamodome.Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin, gunning for
SAN ANTONIO -- Two starting pitchers whose immediate futures will be dictated by their spring performances turned in mixed results on Saturday as the Rangers topped the Royals, 13-6, in the second and final game of the Big League Weekend exhibition series at the Alamodome.
Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin, gunning for the fifth spot in Texas' rotation, was strong early, but yielded three runs over 3 2/3 innings. For the Royals, Chien-Ming Wang, a pleasant surprise this spring, emerging as a top candidate to join the bullpen, allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits over three frames.
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Griffin, who is competing with at least four Rangers pitchers for the final rotation spot, began his fourth spring outing with three perfect innings, inducing four ground balls and striking out three.
"I was just pitching how I pitch when I'm healthy and able to repeat my delivery and do all those good things," Griffin said. "I felt really good today. It's an encouraging step."
But the fourth was more complicated. Griffin fanned Travis Snider and Lorenzo Cain, but then yielded back-to-back homers to Royals mainstays Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez.
Neither shot could be attributed to the quirky, short dimensions in right field. Hosmer's two-run shot traveled over the 350-foot mark in left field, and Perez's solo homer cleared the center-field wall in the deepest point of the outfield.
Griffin said fatigue was not an issue.
"Not at all," he said. "I just probably should have thrown a little bit inside to Hosmer. They started seeing that I was trying to pitch to the bigger part of the park. The fastball didn't feel like it was a terrible pitch. He was kind of just leaning out over the plate. It was a good swing, too. He hit it pretty hard."
Said Rangers skipper Jeff Banister: "I liked what I saw. Very calm guy on the mound. Slow heartbeat. The breaking ball, he's got a great feel for it. He's throwing it slower and slower."
For the Royals, Wang struck out the side in the first but struggled in the next frame. He yielded three hits, including a two-run homer to Robinson Chirinos that cleared the modest right-field wall.
In Wang's previous four outings, he held opponents to one earned run on six hits over six innings, with five strikeouts.
"[Wang] threw fine," said Royals manager Ned Yost. "He had three strikeouts [in the first], that's more than breezing through it. Then the second inning, we made an error and then a little a fly ball that probably wouldn't have been 20 feet from the warning track goes out for a two-run homer."
Texas' Jared Hoying hit his second home run of the exhibition series in the seventh, a two-run shot to right-center off Kevin McCarthy. Second baseman Pedro Ciriaco anchored the bottom of the Rangers' order, going 3-for-3 with a double and run scored. Texas' Drew Stubbs knocked a three-run homer off Luke Farrell in the eighth.
Saturday's game sealed the two-game exhibition sweep for the Rangers. The contest drew 33,592, bringing the two-day attendance to 61,128.
Up next for Rangers: Right-hander Nick Martinez pitches for the Rangers against the Angels at 3:05 p.m. CT, live on MLB.TV and Gameday Audio, on Sunday in Surprise, Ariz. Martinez is trying to win a spot as the fifth starter. Closer Shawn Tolleson and relievers Andrew Faulkner and Tony Barnette are also scheduled to pitch. Cole Hamels will pitch in a Minor League game.
Up next for Royals: After two days of split-squad games, the Royals gather as a group on Sunday to play the Cubs at Sloan Park in a 3:05 p.m. CT start, live on MLB.TV and Gameday Audio. It will be Ian Kennedy for the Royals against Jon Lester for the Cubs. Kansas City will have an off-day on Monday before embarking on the final 12 games of the spring schedule.
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter